Contemporary anxieties about the end of days are brilliantly channelled into Jeff Nichols’ acclaimed psychological thriller. A riveting Michael Shannon plays a small-town working guy driven by visions of apocalypse.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
“There’s possibly no more mesmerizing American actor working in any medium today than Michael Shannon. His talents are put to exceptional use in writer-director Jeff Nichols’ devastating Take Shelter… His characterization grips like a vice as he shifts from softness to menace, stillness to panic, incomprehension to crazed, purposeful illumination.
…[This] picture is a masterfully controlled piece of work on every level – from its precise modulation of mood to its piercing emotional accuracy, its impeccable craftsmanship and breathtaking imagery. Rarely have electrical storms, cloud formations and glowering skies had such an unnerving impact or expressed such dark visual poetry.
While at times it conjures suggestions of vintage Polanski-style paranoia in rural America, this haunting psychological thriller is also a quasi-horror movie firmly rooted in slice-of-life reality. An allegory for the troubles of the world bearing down on ordinary people in an age of natural, industrial and economic cataclysms, it taps into pervasive anxiety more acutely than any film since Todd Haynes’ Safe.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter